The senior housing market is projected to bring in a staggering 63
million seniors by 2025. In the meantime, the current older adult
population is already 25 million and the market preferences of today
and tomorrow’s seniors are ever changing.
In the past, senior housing facilities catered to folks who grew up during the Depression, but the consumers today are much more discriminating.
Today’s seniors are not accepting the traditional definition of retirement. They are not content with just a roof over their heads and three squares a day so the industry is hard pressed to keep up with changing times.
People no longer want their abode to look like a hospital or a nursing home. Seniors want more room and even though they have downsized their lifestyle they still want some space. Senior facilities used to be apartments and nursing homes, but today they are complexes with pools, fitness centers, travel agencies, business centers and other amenities for busy and productive people.
Assisted-living, Senior-care facilities and Retirement Communities combine amenities and style to cater to this new generation of seniors.
While not a new concept, assisted-living facilities enable seniors who can still manage certain daily living skills to avoid the skilled-nursing option. Assisted living facilities have made a concerted effort to present a warmer more individualized picture than the traditional nursing homes.
Because people are living longer we are seeing an increasing population of those with mental impairments. Many of these individuals retain their physical capabilities but present with a new type of special care needs. Alzheimer Units have been added to the growing selection of housing options.
The trend for newer facilities is to adhere to the concept of looking more like a home, even though structured like a hospital. We are also seeing Universal Design concepts being used to make these environments more functional for people with physical or mental impairments.
Although designers and developers have been working wonders to create ideal home situations the price is costly. It is great if you can afford it, but the real question is what are the rest of population going to do?
Ultimately the focus has to be on building up an outreach program that extends into the communities and is geared toward keeping seniors in their own homes.
Retirement Communities, Assisted Living Facilities, and Senior Housing Facilities all have a new emphasis on education, activities and other forms of stimulation to keep seniors moving. They are recognizing that it is important to keep the “whole person” in mind as they plan ahead to keep this growing segment of our population active, healthy and as productive as possible.
Source: “Savvy Senior Housing” Barbara Horwitz. Building Design and Construction. Chicago: December 2001. Vol. 42. Iss. 12; pg. 26, 4 pgs.